Lifeguard Training

(All Gerald Dworkin materials used by permission)


30 Second Rule
The 30-Second Rule implies that lifeguard personnel must be able to provide effective surveillance of their entire zone of responsibility and must be able to effectively survey their zone and everyone within that zone from one extreme periphery to the other extreme periphery and back within a total of 30 seconds. If this cannot be accomplished due to the size of the zone, the number of patrons within the assigned area, or the activities the patrons are engaged in within the zone, then the zone must be confined, or additional lifeguard personnel must be deployed, assigned to the zone, and appropriately positioned to survey this zone.

10/20 Rule
The 10/20 Rule implies that lifeguard personnel, while providing continuous and effective surveillance within their zone of responsibility, must be able to assess the potential victim's distress and must be able to determine whether or not intervention is required within a period of 10 seconds from initial observation. And, if intervention is required, lifeguard personnel must be able to perform the rescue within 20 seconds. In order for this to be accomplished, lifeguard personnel must be appropriately positioned to be able to provide effective surveillance, and to be able to respond to contact and rescue the victim anywhere within their zone of responsibility within a 20-second time period.

10 x 10 Reaction Rule
The lifeguard's goal is to scan his/her assigned zone of responsibility in 10 seconds and to strive to be able to respond and rescue a swimmer in distress in 10 seconds or less.


These factors explain Why children drown in pools with lifeguards

R – Recognition I – Intrusion D – Distractions
When an incident occurs at a “guarded” facility that is not immediately recognized by lifeguard personnel, it is typically due to one of three factors. These factors are referred to as the RID Factors:

R = Recognition
Lifeguard personnel failed to recognize the victim's distress, the incident, or the potential for the incident because they were not positioned properly, were not vigilant in their supervisory responsibilities, or were not appropriately trained and knowledgeable to recognize the signs of a victim’s distress or incident.

I = Intrusion
Lifeguard personnel failed to identify and recognize the incident or it’s potential because they were engaged in activities that intruded upon their ability to provide effective surveillance. Lifeguard personnel should never be assigned duties that infringe upon their surveillance responsibilities.

D = Distractions
Lifeguard personnel failed to recognize the incident or its potential because they were engaged in activities that distracted them from their level of attention and vigilance. Lifeguards should not be allowed to engage in social conversation with patrons or other lifeguards and should not engage in activities such as reading or talking on the phone while on duty.

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Additional drowning-related materials authored by Gerald Dworkin in PDF

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